Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Linsey Corcoran 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Linsey Corcoran. I am an Applied Psychology student with specific interests in sport psychology and developmental psychology. I am an Irish dancer and am intrigued by the interaction between sport performance and psychology. I plan to use my psychological knowledge and skills in the future to support athletes experiencing low levels of self-efficacy. Hopefully, my thesis research findings will help to educate and encourage its readers to consider self-efficacy as an important consideration in relation to human performance. My future education plans include completing a Certificate qualification in Sport Psychology, as well as a Masters degree in Education.

Project Description

My final year major research project examined self-efficacy. This concept can be explained as individuals' beliefs in their ability to do something - a task, for example. Many factors have been examined regarding their potential influence on sport performance. My study was titled: An investigation of self-efficacy among different performer types. The study aimed to investigate if different performer types recorded different levels of self-efficacy. An independent-measures, between-groups, questionnaire design was applied. 70 participants took part in the study - 20 males and 37 females; 9 participants selected non-binary for their gender; 2 participants preferred to self-describe, while another 2 preferred not to indicate their gender. The age range for the participants was 18 to 75 years. The participants completed the General Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (GSEQ). This data was used for the statistical analysis.

Project Objectives

The main objective of my study was to address a gap in the existing literature regarding self-efficacy across different performer types. Previous literature noted how sport psychology has emerged as an important consideration for sport preparation. It can help to explain athletes' successes and failures. My study aimed to examine different performer types' self efficacy that past research had neglected. Previous research has often compared one type of athlete to another, such as football players compared to rugby players. However, there has been a lack of investigation comparing traditional team sport athletes to other performance-based individuals (i.e., Irish dancers and students). My study aimed to address this gap in the previous literature and to add to the knowledge in this area. For example, previous research had suggested that involvement in an activity, such as sport, can result in individuals having and maintaining higher levels of self-efficacy. This is consistent with other research findings where it was noted that individuals with higher levels of self-efficacy are often people who trust that they are capable of good performances in general.

Project Outcomes

Overall, the results of my study indicated differences did exist across different performer types' with regard to their self-efficacy. There was a difference in the performers' self-efficacy, based upon their performer type (students, Irish dancers, football players, student Irish dancers, and student football players). The findings supported some of the previous literature in this area. They may also be applied in various sport psychology settings in order to adapt performer training and allow these athletes develop their self-belief. The study addressed self-efficacy and how it may differ across various performer types, an area that had lacked substantial consideration in the field of sport psychology in the past. This research study expanded on the previous literature regarding self-efficacy in sport settings. It addressed a specific failing of previous studies, that of examining particular performer types within one study. In addition to this, the use of an online survey methodology meant the questionnaire was available to a larger audience for data collection than would have been available using traditional, in-person, administration methods. However, because no direct contact with the participants was made during the study, it is impossible to conclude if a diverse ethnicity existed for the participant group. Overall, this study can be used to help inform future research ideas in the area of self-efficacy in sport and performance settings.

My thesis title was: An investigation of performer types' self-efficacy.

My thesis aimed to investigate potential differences in self-efficacy across different performer types (students, Irish dancers, traditional athletes [football players], student Irish dancers, and student traditional athletes). The independent variable for the study was the performer type (i.e., student performer, dancer performer, traditional athlete performer, student dancer performer and student traditional athlete performer). The dependent variable for the study was self-efficacy. The hypothesis for the study was that there would be a difference for the performers, on their self-efficacy, based on their performer type (i.e., students, Irish dancers, traditional athletes, student Irish dancers, and student football players). The participants were asked to answer a brief demographic questionnaire to gather data about their characteristics. Next, the participants were asked to complete the General Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (GSEQ) in order to obtain information about each participant’s self-efficacy. The data was then compiled and statistically analysed using a one-way ANOVA in order to determine any potential differences in self efficacy across the 5 performer types selected for the study. The hypothesis for the study was supported - there did appear to be a difference in the performers' self-efficacy, based upon their performer type.